Don’t Give Up – Change Your Exercise Routine During Business Travel
It’s tradeshow season. For the past four weeks I’ve been living between planes, airport gates, hotels and conference halls… For all of you road warriors who’ve been on the tradeshow circuit, you know how nearly impossible it is to 1) eat right 2) get enough sleep 3) keep up with your fitness plan 4) avoid cocktails, and 5) not feel loopy from too much talking – all while you’re at 7 am breakfast meetings, all-day tradeshow events, evening cocktail meetings and business dinners. It sounds undo-able. It is.
All too often, we throw in the towel on our fitness plan on the first day and over-indulge because it seems easier to “go along” with everyone else. But wait.
Fitbitting at the Airport
This year I decided, no more feeling like a failure because the fitness routine goes to hell on the road. Instead, I put my hardcore exercise routine on hold and replaced it with a goal to walk 12,000 steps a day while traveling. It doesn’t matter how I get the steps – as long as I get them. I also decided to eat 1/2 of the breakfast I was served each morning and avoid all buffets. No hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties. One drink and then mineral water. It has worked out pretty well so far, with some surprises.
On to the walking goals. I had my handy Fitbit Zip Activity Tracker clipped right to my business suit to monitor my results. Here’s how the step goal worked out for one tradeshow trip:
Pre-airport: 2,800 steps
First leg of flight: Added 3,000 steps by walking the El Paso airport – now up to 5800 steps
Connecting flight: Walking the Dallas halls – up to 9760 steps
Final destination: Walk instead of taking tram to baggage claim – up to 11,250 steps
Airport to hotel room: Total: 12,570 steps – YES!
Hotel to tradeshow breakfast: 2,100 steps
Tradeshow hall: 8 hours – Up to 5,870 steps (What??? Tradeshows make you feel as if you walked 25 miles, but I see it is not true. I start taking booth breaks to walk a few loops around the tradeshow exhibit hall – now up to 7,820 steps
Break between show & dinner: Hit the hotel treadmill – Up to 10,200 steps
Dinner: Walk to & from restaurant – Final total – 14,190 steps
Hotel to tradeshow: 2,120 steps
Wrap-up show: 4,500 steps
Airport: Catch up on layovers between flights – Up to 9,120 steps
Home: Fall asleep face down on my bed. No more steps. Total: 9,120 steps. Oh well.
It took some additional focus, but I’d have to say I felt much more energized than at previous tradeshows. It was far easier to commit to walking rather than trying to squeeze in a run or a cardio session (too daunting since we got up early and stayed out so late). It also helped to have a great audiobook loaded on my iPhone to make the airport and hotel treadmill walking less boring.
I also generally stuck to the “one cocktail,” no hors d’oeuvres rule, and it turned out to be easier than I thought after the first “no thank you,” to the waiters. Rule #1: No event food is a delicious as you think it’s going to be – ever. It’s not worth the extra calories.
I think I maintained my weight and my pants are actually fitting better than ever. The best part is that I didn’t feel totally out of control, the way business travel and entertainment can often make you feel. Rock ON.